- Try to manage your life - single handedly, on your own. There is no guarantee that your spouse/partner will be there with you till the end of your life. Women need to learn about banking, shares, assets etc. At the same time, men must learn about good house keeping; basic cooking etc.
- Psychological problems are understandable, but try to overcome anxiety and depression by adopting a positive attitude. In severe cases you can take the advice of doctors. Take medicine under their guidance. Try to overcome loneliness:
- On your own, by picking up hobbies you had given up due to pressure of work and bringing up the family e.g. reading, writing, painting, singing, crafts, embroidery, etc.
- By participating in group activities like joining clubs, religious groups, traveling, Rotary Club, Lions, Giants etc.
- Accident prevention in the house - By
- Arranging furniture in such a way that it will not be an obstruction while walking by. Do not keeping furniture, childrenís toys and shoes in the centre of the room.
- Using western style toilet seats.
- Affixing handholds and clasps in the bathroom so that one can readily get up.
- Keeping the bathrooms dry and not slippery.
- Avoiding carpets which might have folds.
- Clothes - the buttonholes must be large so that the buttons can readily put on. There should not be any trailing or floppy clothes e.g. dupattas, dhotis etc. One should not use any safety pins.
- Footwear must fit properly and must not slip out readily.
- Learn to anticipate and prevent disabilities. Use a walking stick, if required, to maintain balance. Check and correct visual and hearing disabilities.
- Treat contributory medical problems adequately e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, Parkinsonís disease, Alzheimerís disease, etc.. Replete nutritional deficiencies by taking prescribed doses of iron, multi-vitamins, calcium, etc.
- Medication -
- Use minimum of medicinesm
- Avoid too much use of tranquilizers
- Avoid self medication
- Take all medicines under the doctorís guidance. The doctor knows all about drug interactions.
- Exercise - Exercise daily, preferably in the mornings. It is very helpful for normal people as well as for diabetics and cardiac cases. Avoid sudden spurts of vigorous exercises. Instead, gradually build up the exercise pattern. Avoid jogging, jumping, etc. to reduce the chances of a slipped disc.
- Diet - Have a normal healthy diet. Preferably small frequent feeds rather than one big meal in a day. Food must be easily digestible. Avoid leftover foods, stale food, oily and fried food.
- Avoid constipation by eating fibrous food. Try to avoid the use of laxatives. Geriatric management emphasizes on relieving symptoms and improving functions rather than completely curing the underlying pathology. This is not always possible.
- Take special diets for diseases e.g. diabetic diet, cardiac cases, kidney problems etc.
- Pay proper dental attention. Use of dentures is a must, where required.
- Maintain a weight record. If there is a 10% loss over a period of 6 months or a 5% loss every month you must go to the doctor to be examined and treated.
- Do live a glorious, golden geriatric life.
Dr. Kusum K. Doshi